You've picked your display, acquired the necessary template(s), and you're almost ready to submit your artwork for review and pre-flight. So what are some of the most common mistakes made on graphics submissions that can hold up the production process?
A.) Forgetting To Proofread: This happens far more often than you might think. Whether or not your trade show graphics are text-intensive, double/triple check all of your bullet points, tag-lines etc for spelling and grammar errors. While this might seem obvious, it is the responsibility of the designer to catch any of these before going to print.
B.) Not Converting Fonts To Outlines: Especially important with vector art. We receive many Adobe Illustrator and PDF submissions with missing fonts. Make sure any fonts have been converted or rasterized. Worst case scenario, make sure you submit the font along with your artwork, preferably in .ttf or .otf format.
C.) Not Building Your Art To The Proper Size Or Resolution:For example, not all pop up displays are created equally. Each make and model has it's own width and height for the finished size, preferred bleed for the manufacturer. Also, depending on the manufacturer, the recommended resolution for large format print can be somewhere between 100 to 150 dpi (or dots per inch.) Bleed should be built by continuing your backdrop all the way to the outside edge of the bleed area, since the bleed cut off point is approximate. You don't want there to be any chance of seeing white along the edge of the cut off point.
D.) Not Creating Your Final Layout In CMYK Mode: Your colors can look drastically different in RGB mode. Color printing utilizes a four color process: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (or K). RGB is a brighter mode used on computer screens, cameras and TVs. To emulate those colors on paper, most printing presses utilize a four-color ink system. Artwork submitted as RGB is always converted over to CMYK by the printers. When brought over to CMYK, often times the colors will look more washed out, or not as originally intended. One exception would be a high quality Lambda print offered as an option for pop up displays and truss displays. Lambda printing is an RGB process, higher grade and definition, truer colors, with more color possibilities.
E.) Not Calling Out Pantone Colors: Critical if a company is particular on their color branding. Never a guarantee with so many different substates, inks and printers, but it's still the best way to get solid colors to match as closely as possible. Some manufacturers may require Pantone layers to be in vector format, or they may ask for the layered version of your artwork. When in doubt, order a printed proof to be on the safe side. Most manufacturers can get those out pretty quick.
As with any graphic design work, especially on larger projects, it's always good to another pair of eyes on it before making any submissions. Keeping these important guidelines in mind will help you to avoid unnecessary extra steps and help to maintain your production schedule.